Northridge : CSUN Grant to Buy Research Microscope

Exceeding its expectations, Cal State Northridge has received a grant of nearly $240,000 to purchase a state-of-the-art microscope for cellular research.

Biology professor Steven B. Oppenheimer said the National Institutes of Health grant will give CSUN a tool that is typically found only at the nation's top research universities.

"It allows you to focus at any level into cells," he said of the confocal microscope the university will purchase with the funds. "You can look deep into the structure of cells and really see what's going on. You can do this with living cells, too."

Unlike conventional microscopes, Oppenheimer explained that a confocal scope uses two laser beams and allows researchers to peer beyond a cell's surface. He added that it will be used primarily in three research projects under his direction and that of department colleagues Maria Elena Zavala and Randy Cohen.

"We are trying to find out what molecules are included in specific cellular interactions," he said.

Oppenheimer said the custom-built Ultima 312 Premium Laser microscope should arrive on campus within about six months and that he expects many other Southern California colleges to ask to use it.

"My guess is that people from UCLA will be coming over in droves," he said.

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